Visit Diane, the gracious hostess of this meme, to see other entries or to play along.

First, let me say Happy Anniversary to Diane and Jory and to thank them for hosting Musical Monday for one year now. It's been a blast, and I look forward to many more weeks of music with you.

I really like American Idol, but I love The X-Factor! Through the magic of satellite (the show airs in the UK), I've been lucky enough to have seen three seasons of Simon Cowell's "other" show. Although similar in that they both provide an opportunity for fledgling singers to showcase their talent in the hope that they will win a recording contract, American Idol and The X-Factor differ in one crucial way: the judges act as mentors to the contestants and choose their songs. After the auditions have concluded and the group of wannabes narrowed to 24 contestants, the judges learn which of the four categories -- girls, boys, groups, and over 25 -- they will mentor. By the time the contestants go to live performances, each judge has 4 proteges under his or her wing. Leona Lewis, the protegee of Simon himself, won The X-Factor in 2007; Alexandra Burke, under the careful mentoring of Cheryl Cole, won in 2008; and my entry for this week, Joe McElderry, also a protegee of Cheryl Cole, won in 2009.

I love Joe's voice and had a really hard time choosing just one of his performances. Since I love the meaning behind the words, I chose the song that became Joe's first single. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do -- Joe sings it much better than Miley Cyrus, LOL!


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To see more entries and / or play along, visit The Bumbles.

This week's movie topic is all about Highs & Lows.

When I first saw the Bumbles' entry for this week, I groaned. Literally. And aloud. This week's post is titled "ON MOVIES ~ The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly." Considering that I detest this particular film with a passion the likes of which I am not nearly as passionate about anything else in my life and that the Amazing Egyptian Dude thinks it is the best movie ever made and watches it every single time it's on television, including last night, I couldn't help myself. Once the initial shock of the title wore off, I read the post and discovered that the film itself was not this week's theme, I breathed a sigh of relief. Literally. And aloud.

Here goes nothing. . .

Clint Eastwood is an actor whose body of work literally encompasses the good, bad, and ugly, so I've chosen him to begin with. Although I enjoyed all of the movies on the good list, it wasn't until The Bridges of Madison County that I truly appreciated the actor. The AED, on the other hand, thinks that Clint Eastwood never made a bad movie and subjects me to Eastwood "festivals" frequently. At least there are a few movies that I don't mind watching over and over and over again.

The Good: Play Misty for Me, Paint Your Wagon, The Bridges of Madison County, and Million Dollar Baby

The Bad: Any Which Way You Can and Bronco Billy

The Ugly: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Meryl Streep never ceases to amaze me; her talent is the stuff of legend. Whenever I want to watch a movie that will catch my attention within the first ten to fifteen minutes and hold it firmly in its grasp until the credits begin to roll, I search through the DVDs for something starring Meryl Streep. I love the variety of characters that she has portrayed, the way that she masters foreign accents with such perfection, and how she has the power to inspire me to willingly suspend my disbelief just long enough to lead me through a fantastic story. Although we remember the actress mostly for the good, because it's really g-o-o-d, she has made a couple of real duds.

The Good: Silkwood, Out of Africa, Sophie's Choice, The Bridges of Madison County, and Julie & Julia

The Bad: Death Becomes Her and A Cry in the Dark (Evil Angels)

The Ugly: She-Devil

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